COVID-19: Public Health + Civil Preparedness Emergencies Declared in Connecticut
In the wake of a second patient testing positive for Coronavirus in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont has declared both civil preparedness and public health emergencies in order to be able to take specific actions within the state.
In a news conference and subsequent press release on Tuesday afternoon (March 10), the Governor's Office announced that these declarations put certain price gouging laws into place, meaning that any unfair or deceptive business practices in which businesses profit from emergencies, in this case the Coronavirus, is more likely to be punishable by law. For more information regarding Connecticut's price gouging laws and how they may be impacted by the virus, click here.
Another aspect of the declarations is that now, Connecticut has more leverage in the attempt to expand the state's testing abilities and improve upon certain public health regulations based on the current situation. The state says that with the declarations, some consumers and businesses whose travel has been impacted by the outbreak may be able to benefit from travel insurance and other related coverage. As coverage will depend on the terms of each policy, consumers are encouraged to read them carefully.
While the declarations allow for the governor to take actions such as closing schools and canceling large gatherings, those types of decisions are currently being left in the hands of local officials.
The aforementioned second Connecticut resident who tested positive for COVID-19 is a Bethlehem woman in her 60s who serves as a healthcare worker at Bridgeport Hospital. She is believed to have contracted the virus during a recent trip to Nevada and is being treated in Bridgeport.
These announcements come one day after it was confirmed that a Wilton man between the ages of 40 and 50 years old is being treated at Danbury Hospital in what is considered to be Connecticut's first active case of the virus.
According to the Department of Public Health, the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is considered low for people who had contact with an individual who does not have COVID-19 and does not have symptoms. In other words, a contact of a contact is considered low risk.
Any resident that is not currently showing symptoms of the virus (two or three days of fever, cough, and shortness of breath) can dial 211 at any time with any basic questions.
The Governor's Office has also provided residents with some important messages to keep in mind:
- People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
- If you were with someone who does not have symptoms, the risk of transmission is very low.
- There are many respiratory illnesses circulating in Connecticut, such as the flu and the common cold. Having respiratory symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19.
- People are at higher risk for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of the virus (cough, fever, shortness of breath) AND if they were a contact of a positive case of COVID-19 (or have traveled to country with community transmission, such as China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan).
- Someone is considered a contact if they have had direct, face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19.
- People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).
- People with general questions about COVID-19 can visit ct.gov/coronavirus or call 2-1-1.
- Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Connecticut.
- Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
- Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
- Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.